The Lernier Family
© 2011 Russ Nielsen
All Rights Reserved




Chapter 24: Return to the Potomac River

Moving day had finally arrived.   We have enjoyed our time in Hauppauge but it was time to move back to our home on the river.   I missed sitting on the riverbank watching the sunrise and the fog rising from the surface of the water.   It made the whole world seem so mysterious and wonderful!   We had spent the last two weeks packing boxes and cleaning the house.   The movers weren't schedule to arrive for another hour so Rick and I were sitting on the couch in the family room.   Ashley was entertaining the twins by telling stories to them about two little boys just like them.   David had retreated to his room with his laptop.   Kyle came in and sat down next to us.

Rick asked, "What's up, Kyle?   You look like you ate something that didn't agree with you."

"I hate leaving Hauppauge, Dad.   It seems like I just got settled and we're moving, again," Kyle said.

I put my arm around his shoulders and looked him in the eyes, "Does this have something to do with Jenny?"

Kyle nodded, "I really like her, Daddy."

Rick said, "Maybe we can invite her family to visit us this summer.   I think they would enjoy going out on the boat.   What do you think?"

Kyle's expression brightened considerably, "I think that would be a great idea.   I will call Jenny and tell her about it."

"You can tell her about it but let your Dad and I extend the invitation to her parents.   That way we can coordinate our calendars," I said.

Kyle nodded his head and immediately pulled out his cell phone.   He stood up and walked out into the hallway to talk to his girlfriend.   He returned beaming.   "Jenny thinks that would be a great thing to do this summer.   She has never been to Washington, DC, and she thinks her parents would really like doing some touring."   Kyle hugged both of us.   "Thank you for being so wonderful!"

I looked at Rick and said, "You certainly know how to make Kyle happy."

Rick grinned, "I was in love once, remember?"

I laughed, "You had better still be in love, Mr. Lernier!"

Rick pulled me closer to him and kissed me on the lips.   "Yes, I am very much in love with you, Glenn."

I put my hand up to his face and ran my fingers along Rick's jawline.   I said, "I fell in love with you from the moment I laid eyes on you.   You have always been my prince charming."

Kyle was watching us closely and he asked, "Did you really fall in love with Dad the first time you saw him?"

I nodded my head, "Well, let's just say I was madly in love with his gorgeous body and handsome face."

"Kyle have you ever seen a fish with its mouth open?" Rick asked.   Kyle nodded his head.   "That's what Daddy looked like when he first saw me."

Kyle laughed, "Were you really like that Daddy?"

I was blushing but I nodded my head, "I was indeed.   I was visiting Atlanta and my cousin, Keith, took me to his apartment.   Keith didn't warn me that your Dad liked to run around the apartment naked.   So when I saw your Dad the first time, he was completely naked and had a raging hard on."

Kyle looked at Rick in surprise, "I didn't know you didn't like wearing clothes."

"I still don't but I have to now that we have a family.   I don't want the neighbors to have a reason for calling social services by running around with nothing on," Rick said.   Kyle nodded his head in understanding.

"Your Dad didn't wear much in the way of clothing at home the first six years we lived together," I said squeezing Rick's hand.

"You were right there beside me, Babe," Rick said.

"Yes, I was because we were usually making out," I said laughing at Kyle's expression of disbelief.   "What?   You don't believe that your Dad and I like being naked together?"  This question made Kyle blush and he ducked his head.   I reached over and ruffled his hair.   "It's okay, Kyle.   It's just that your Dad is a nudist at heart and yes, I love seeing my husband without his clothes on."

Kyle was still blushing but he raised his eyes to meet mine, "I guess I never really thought of you two as being sexually active.   I have always thought of you more as a parental unit than lovers.   I know I should have figured it out sooner because you wouldn't be married if you didn't enjoy having sex with each other."

Rick smiled, "That's right.   Most married couples enjoy having sex on a regular basis.   It's part of what keeps us together.   They call it making love because if you are having sex with the person you love the most, it is an unforgettable experience."

The doorbell rang at that moment interrupting our conversation.   Kyle got up and answered the door.   He yelled down the hall, "The movers are here!"

Rick and I got up and went to talk to the movers.   About three hours later, the movers had finished and were pulling away from the house with our belongings.   Rick turned to me and said, "Let's get the children in the car.   It's time for us to be on our way."

I looked inside the Honda Odyssey and found that the children were already settled.   I looked back to Rick and said, "I think everyone is already in the van.   Do you want to make one last check to make sure we didn't leave anything behind?"

Rick nodded his head and re-entered the house.   He soon returned and gave me a thumbs up sign.   "Let's go!"

Kyle asked, "May I ride with Dad in the Land Rover?"

"Sure," I replied.   "I think he would like the company."

Kyle jumped out of the van and walked over and climbed into front seat of the Land Rover.   Rick smiled and said, "I will follow you."

We caravanned down Interstate 95 to Washington, DC.   It was late afternoon when we arrived at our home in Virginia.   The gates swung open and we parked the vehicles.   Cameron and Skye scampered ahead of their Dads as Zach and Todd approached from their house.

The twins hugged both Rick and I before turning to JJ and Josh.   Cammy said, "JJ and Josh, Dad made cookies for you.   They are still warm." 

JJ and Josh looked up at us and JJ asked, "May we go with Cammy?"

Rick laughed, "Of course, you may.   The rest of you can go with them as well.   We will unload the car when the movers arrive with our stuff."

The children disappeared into Zach and Todd's house.  I hugged Zach and turned to Todd.   "Thank you for making cookies for the children."   I hugged Todd and kissed him on the lips.   "I have missed you so much."

Todd laughed, "Not half as much as I have missed you, Glenn.   You had Mrs. Reed to keep you company for most of the time you were gone.   I was left to my own devices while Zach was gone with only the twins to keep me company.   I got a lot of work done but it's not the same as having another adult to talk to every day."

Zach put his arm around Todd's waist and pulled him close.   "What he's trying to say for both of us is that we are very happy that you have finally returned home." 

Todd grinned, "Yes, Zach is right.   We are more than just a little excited to have you home.  Cameron and Skye want to go out on the boat for a few days.   I told them we would have to see how things go with you guys getting settled."

"I would love to spend a weekend on our boats," Rick said.   "I will call the General and Mrs. Campbell to see they are up for a weekend on the water."

"If not, we could drop them on shore where they could sleep in a hotel for the night and then pick them up the next morning," I suggested.

Zach looked at Rick and asked, "Where are you going to keep all the stuff you are bringing from New York?   You already have a house full of furniture."

"We plan to put most of it in storage.   We need to evaluate what we need to keep for the three older children before making any decisions about what stays and what goes," Rick said.

We walked into our house and went into the family room.   I curled up next to Rick while Zach and Todd sat on the loveseat.   Todd smiled, "I went shopping for you yesterday.   Your pantry was rather empty."  I looked at Rick who grinned and shrugged his shoulders.   "Your husband either ate with us or fixed himself ramen noodles whenever he was in town," Todd said by way of explanation.

"Thank you for keeping him from starving, Todd.   I just can't imagine surviving on ramen noodles," I said grinning up at Rick.   I pulled up his muscle t-shirt and ran my hands over his six-pack abs.   "I'm glad he didn't waste away to nothing over the last nine months."  

Rick tightened his muscles as I caressed his stomach.   He grinned and said, "I have to stay in shape so you don't leave me for Todd over there."

Todd laughed, "You don't have to worry about that Rick.   Glenn and I are good friends, Rick, not lovers.   However, we would love to have a make out session like the one we had before you left."

Zach agreed, "Watching you two make love to each other only made it all the more intense for me and Todd."

"Same here," Rick replied.  "Are you up for it Glenn?"

"Yes, I am but after we get all the kids to bed," I said giving my husband a leer.

Rick said, "Glenn, Kyle asked me about going to a different high school.   He thinks he will have a better chance of getting on the football team at Edison High School than at Hayfield Secondary.   Hayfield has such a big student body and only lets the best of the best play on the sports teams.   Edison has a winning football team but the coach always lets everyone play."

Todd's eyebrows shot up in surprise, "You aren't going to home school the children?"

"We are going to home school the twins but the older children want to go back to school with their friends.   I don't blame them for wanting to interact with children their own age," Rick said.

Todd argued, "But the four of us could home school all of them, Rick.   Cameron and Skye are doing very well and passed every one of the standards of learning tests without missing a single question.   As for the sports part of it, the local soccer and football leagues are great.   You have seen how well Cameron and Skye are doing."

I interrupted, "Todd, it's okay.   We haven't decided exactly how we are going to handle school, yet.   The children have expressed their interest in returning to the public schools.   We told them we would talk it over and let them know of our decision."

"So there is still a chance you will home school them?" Todd asked.

"A slim one," Rick said.   "Kyle made a pretty good argument for returning to public school."

At that moment, the twins burst into the room followed by the other children.   JJ climbed up on my lap and said, "Cammy wants to have a sleep over.   May we have them stay over with us?"

I looked across at Zach and Todd.   Zach smiled, "Certainly.   How would you boys like to sleep in a tent in the backyard?"

Josh clapped his hands in delight, "Yes, please, Uncle Zach."   Josh ran across the room and climbed up on Zach's lap.   He wrapped his arms around Zach's neck.   "You are the best uncle."   He kissed Zach on the cheek.

Zach smiled at the little boy and said, "You are my best nephew, Josh, along with your twin brother, JJ."

Josh nodded his head and said, "Do you know that I have two new brothers and a new sister?"

"Yes, I do," Zach answered.

Josh said, "They are Kyle, David and Ashley."   Josh turned around on Zach lap and waved at the three older children.   He said, "Uncle Zach there they are over there."

"I see them, Josh.   Do you think they would like to sleep in a tent tonight?"

"Ashley won't.   She doesn't like tents," Josh said looking over at Ashley.

Ashley said, "Josh is right.   I don't like sleeping in tents.   Do we get to call you Uncle Zach and Uncle Todd now like the twins do?"

Todd responded, "Yes, you do."

David said, "Grandma always told us you were like family to us so it makes sense to call you Uncle Zach and Uncle Todd."

"Your Grandma was right about that, David," Zach said smiling at the intense young man who stood before him with a book in his hand.   "What are you studying now?"

David's face lit up with enthusiasm, "Robotics.   Did you study robotics when you were in college?"

"No, I didn't but I know that your Dad did," Zach answered.   "I majored in sports medicine and physical therapy.   I plan to retire in the next year or so and work as a physical therapist."

David looked at Rick and asked, "Did you really study robotics, Dad?"

"Yes and no, David.   I did in that I helped in the design and fabrication of the materials that went into building the robot.   The computing guys wrote the programs that ran the robots," Rick said.   "Next time we are in Atlanta, we can take you to visit the robotics lab at Georgia Tech."

David nodded his head, "That would be great.   There's a robotics lab at Virginia Tech as well.   There is a robotics team at Hayfield Secondary but you have to be a freshman to participate which means I can't be on it until next year."

Rick said, "Maybe we can talk to the team advisor about letting you participate on the team if I volunteer to help them with their next project."

David's eyes widened in surprise, "Would you really do that for me, Dad?"

"Sure, son, I love building things and getting a chance to build a robot would be really awesome," Rick said with a grin.

David turned to Kyle and asked, "Did you hear that, Kyle?   Dad is going to see if I can be part of the robotics team!"

Rick laughed and said, "Whoa there, David!   We don't know if we can swing it, yet.   We have to ask them first.   If not, you will have to wait until the next year when you are old enough."

David blushed but he still was practically levitating off the floor.   "I am really excited!"

"That much is obvious," Todd said with a smile.

There was knock on the door and Kyle went to the door and opened it.   He came back and announced, "The movers are here and want to know where to put our stuff."

Rick and I got up and walked outside to direct the movers.   After they had unloaded everything, we sorted out what went where.   Most of the boxes went inside the house while the furniture was stored in the garage.   The children's rooms were quickly set up and their boxes moved into their rooms.   After we ate dinner, we spent the evening unpacking boxes and getting everything in its place.

The next morning, I was awakened by the sound of the piano.   I looked over at Rick who was also awake.   I leaned over and kissed him.   "Good morning, Babe.   It sounds like Kyle has already found the piano this morning."

"I'm glad he is feeling comfortable enough to sit down to the piano," Rick said.   "I was afraid he would withdraw into himself like he did after his grandmother died."

"I think he is past that now, Rick.   I think he is pretty stable now.   He just wasn't sure about us and whether we really would be here for him.   I think he has come to realize that we love him and will be here to help him when he needs it," I said.

"Are you going to teach Kyle how to play the piano?" Rick asked.

"I have suggested it to him but he seems to be a little resistant to the idea.   He plays really well by ear and doesn't want to relearn how to play.   It's different with the viola.   He had to learn to read music in order to play the viola.   With the piano, he just sits down at the keyboard and plays what he has heard others play.   He has even begun to improvise and make up songs of his own.   Maybe at some point in the future, Kyle will want to learn to read the bass clef," I said.

We listened to Kyle for a while longer before we got out of bed and showered together.   Showering with Rick is always the highlight of my morning!

We dressed in khaki shorts and navy blue golf shirts.   We both wore deck shoes since we planned to get out on the boat later in the day.   We walked into the family room and sat down to listen to Kyle play.   When he finished, he looked over at us and smiled at us, "I didn't hear you come.   I'm sorry if I woke you up."

Rick said, "That's okay, Kyle.   It was nice to hear you playing this morning.   You seem to be happy today."

"I am.   I love my new room looking out over the river.   I can't wait to go out on the boat today!   Are the General and Mrs. Campbell coming with us?" Kyle asked as he stood up from the piano bench and stretched.

I watched him and had to admit Kyle was turning into a handsome young man.   He was shirtless and wore his bright blue board shorts low on his hips showing the top of his bright white Speedo bikini briefs.   Kyle had surprised me when he asked me to buy them for him.   My thoughts took me back to that moment in time:

"Daddy, will you buy these for me?" Kyle said as he handed me a package of Speedo bikini briefs.  

There was three pair in the package.   I looked up at Kyle in surprise, "Are you sure this is what you want?"

Kyle nodded his head, "I know what you are thinking, Daddy.   Harrison will give me a hard time if I wear them when he stays over."

"Didn't you tell him you were definitely not gay?   Wearing these may cause him to harass you even more than he has in the past," I said with concern in my voice.

Kyle looked me in the eye and said, "But weren't you the one who told me that just because you wear certain clothing doesn't necessarily mean that you are gay?"

"True, I did say that but don't you think it will cause Harrison to think maybe he can push you into having sex with him?" I replied.

"No, I don't because I don't want to have sex with him and he knows that," Kyle said determinedly.  

Looking at his face, I knew that he wasn't going to budge so I said, "Okay, I will buy them for you but I would recommend that you wear them after we move back to Virginia."

Kyle nodded his head, "I am good with that.   I have seen you and Dad wearing this kind of underwear and I think you both look really great in them."   He smiled as he said it.  

I laughed and replied, "Okay, Kyle!   I get it.   You think we look sexy in them and you want to look sexy for Jenny when she comes to visit us later this summer."

Kyle blushed and then smiled, "Yeah.   Promise you won't tell Dad because he'll tease me about it."

"I won't promise you that because your Dad needs to know what is going on with you.   I don't want you to go off and have sex with Jenny.   Most importantly, I don't want you to get Jenny pregnant so I think you had better think twice about showing off your underwear when she's around," I said seriously.

Kyle's face turned a shade redder than it had been, "But Dad…."

"Kyle, it's okay for you to wear the underwear.   It's just that I don't think it would be appropriate for you to run around showing yourself off in them while Jenny and her family are visiting with us."

"I wasn't planning to run around in my underwear," Kyle said in protest.   "I just wanted to look as good as you and Dad do in your underwear."

I realized I had pushed him too far, "I'm sorry, Kyle.   I shouldn't be getting on your case about the new underwear.   I actually think you will like them.   I know I do."

"Daddy likes you in them, too.   He told me that you look really sexy when you wear the bright white ones," Kyle said smiling.

I gave Kyle a suspicious look and said, "Okay, what else has Dad told you?"

Kyle laughed and said, "Nothing much!"   Kyle scampered away from me laughing as I pushed the shopping cart after him.

My attention was brought back to the present as Kyle raised his arms over his head and stretched his arms with his hands clasped together.   Kyle now had patches of dark brown hair under his arms and a dark treasure trail starting under his navel.   His dark brown hair looked like he had stuck his finger in a light socket and his glasses made him look a little eccentric.   His upper torso had benefited from his regular workouts on the weights in our home gym.   He cracked his knuckles.   He saw me looking at him and grinned.    Kyle dropped his hands to his sides as he walked over and gave us both a hug and a kiss on the cheek. 

Rick noticed his new underwear and winked at him.   Kyle grinned and pulled his board shorts down a little bit further to show that he was wearing his Speedo bikini underwear, "Do you like my new underwear?"

Rick laughed and said, "I don't need to like them but I am sure that you do.   Just make sure that no one sees them that shouldn't."

Kyle grinned, "I promise I won't show them off to unsuspecting teenage girls!"

"Specifically, a teenage girl named Jenny," I said pointedly.

Kyle's grin broadened if that was possible.   He looked at Rick who grinned also.   It made me wonder what the two were up to now!   Before I had a chance to ask, Kyle whirled away and was out of the family room leaving us sitting there on the couch.   We heard his feet padding across the hall to the kitchen and the refrigerator door open.   "What's for breakfast?" he called out.

I looked at Rick and laughed, "He has a bottomless pit for a stomach.   It never ceases to amaze me how much food he manages to pack away."

"He's a growing boy," Rick said.   "We had better feed him before he decides to take matters into his own hands."

We got up and joined Kyle in the kitchen.   He was still standing in front of the open refrigerator as if something would magically appear for him to eat.   I said, "If you will get out the eggs and the bacon, you can help me cook breakfast."

Kyle pulled out the eggs and bacon and placed them on the counter.   I walked over and pulled down the pancake mix from the cupboard.   I poured some of the mix into a bowl and added some water.   Rick pulled out the electric griddle and plugged it into the electrical outlet.  

Kyle said, "I'll make the pancakes, Daddy, if you will cook the bacon and eggs."

"Deal," I replied.   I handed him the bowl of pancake batter and I took the eggs from him.   The last time Kyle had tried to make scrambled eggs we ended up with eggshells and a wee bit of egg with them!   "Don't forget to make a face out of chocolate chips on each pancake," I reminded Kyle.

"I won't forget, Daddy.   I like the chocolate chip pancakes as much as the twins do," Kyle responded.

Rick piped up, "And don't forget to make a few plain ones for me.  I always get shortchanged when it comes to the pancake department."

I laughed and replied, "Don't be complaining about the service around here!   You are just lucky we continue to cook for you with all the carrying on about not having as many pancakes as you would like."

Rick protested loudly, "Kyle, don't you agree that I get fewer plain pancakes than all of you who like chocolate chip ones?"

"No, Dad, I don't agree with you.   The reason I don't make more plain pancakes is because Daddy says you need to watch what you eat so I only make four plain ones so you won't eat too many of them," Kyle said laughing at his Dad's hurt expression.

"Now the truth comes out!   It's been a plot, a scheme to keep me from having my fair share of pancakes!" Rick exclaimed indignantly.

Kyle and I laughed at Rick as he pretended to be angry at us.   "Sweetheart, we only have your best interest at heart.   We know how much you like them but all those carbohydrates aren't good for such an old geezer as yourself," I explained patiently.

Rick guffawed, "Who are you calling an old geezer?   Just look in the mirror and you'll see who is the old geezer!"

"You are right, Rick.    Kyle is getting to be an old geezer alright.   He's getting downright ancient," I said with a knowing smile and a wink at Kyle.

Kyle laughed and replied, shaking his head in disbelief, "You two are so goofy sometimes."

"We might be goofy but we must give credit where credit is due.   We learned to be goofy from a real professional and he's standing right here," Rick said as he patted Kyle on the back.

"I didn't make you guys goofy!" Kyle protested.   "I only contributed in a small way to the overall goofiness you already had!"

We continued trash talking each other and enjoying ourselves as we finished making breakfast.  We soon had breakfast on the table.   The smell of bacon must have made its way throughout the house because everyone soon appeared at the kitchen table as if by magic!

We loaded everything on the sailboats and made sure everyone was onboard.   I went below with the twins.   JJ protested, "I want to be on top with Dad."

"You can come up as soon as we have the sails up," I said.   I looked over at Ashley and David, "Thank you for playing with them while we get the boats underway.   It won't be long but I want to make sure they are safe."

I went back up the ladder and joined Kyle and Rick on deck.   Rick was piloting the boat and showing Kyle how to steer.   Rick backed the boat away from the boat dock and into the main channel of the Potomac River.   He then switched direction and pointed the sailboat downstream.   He cut the engine and nodded in my direction, "Time to put up the sails."

Between the three of us, we made short work of raising the sails.   I looked behind us to see Zach and Todd had their sails up as well.   I waved to them and Todd waved back.   While Rick gave Kyle some pointers about steering the sailboat, I returned below deck and said, "Time to come up on deck."

JJ and Josh were the first ones to climb up the ladder and quickly made their way to their Dad.   Rick scooped them up in his arms.   Both of them wrapped their arms around his neck and were grinning from ear to ear.   Rick sat down next to Kyle holding the twins on his lap.   I grabbed my camera and took some pictures of the boys.   I called David and Ashley over and had them join them and took some more shots of the whole family.

We sailed down to the mouth of the Potomac River and out into the Chesapeake Bay.   We dropped anchor a few miles beyond Smith Point Lighthouse.    Zach and Todd dropped their sails and used their engine to bring their boat alongside us and then dropped their anchors from the bow and stern to stabilize their boat.   We tied the two boats together for the evening making sure that the boat fenders were in place to keep the two boats from being damaged.  

Zach and Todd crossed over with Cameron and Skye.   We ate dinner together and enjoyed being back on our boat.   After both sets of twins had settled down of the night, we gathered on deck with Zach, Todd and the older children.

Ashley said, "It feels good to be home.   I missed spending the night on the boat."

"I missed it, too," David said.   "I like catching and eating our own fish."

"Yes, it feels good to be home," I said.   I put my arm around Ashley and she cuddled against me.   "You are such a cuddle bug, Ashley."

She smiled up at me, "I just like being loved, Daddy."

Rick put his arm around me and laughed, "Ashley, Daddy is just as much a cuddle bug as you are."

"I know," Ashley replied smiling at him.   "He likes to cuddle with you."

I turned my head towards Rick for a quick kiss as I snuggled closer to my sweetheart.   There was a light breeze that ruffled our and made it very comfortable to out in the warm, humid air.

Todd looked around at the children and asked, "Have all of you decided to go back to public school next year?"

Kyle spoke up first, "Yes, we have.   I want to play high school football."

"I want to be part of the robotics team," David said.

"And I want to be on the swim and dive team," Ashley said.  

"Are you going to be on the community swim team?" Zach asked.

"I would like to be but I haven't asked my Dads, yet," Ashley said.

"I am okay with it but which community pool do we have to join in order for you to be on their swim team?" I asked.

"I can rejoin the team I was on before we left for New York," Ashley said.   "My friend, Amber, said they were still looking for more kids to join the swim team."   She looked over at Kyle, "You know, Kyle, you could join the swim team as well."

Kyle shook his head, "There is no way I'm going to wear those Speedo swimsuits in public!"

Rick laughed, "Why?   You would like great in one."

Kyle blushed as he said, "They show too much."

Ashley said, "Yes, they do but you can wear a pair of shorts over the top of them until it's time for you to race.   The older boys all do that so you wouldn't stand out in the crowd."

Kyle looked at Rick, "What do you think, Dad?"

"I think you should do what you want to do, Kyle.   I wouldn't be self-conscious about your body.   You are a good looking guy who is in good shape.   However, you need to remember that football practice begins in August before the end of the swimming season.   You need to decide what you want to do," Rick said.

"I had forgotten about that," Kyle said.  "I guess I won't join the swim team.   Dad, I want to learn to swim like Ashley does."

Ashley laughed, "Kyle doesn't want to lose to a girl in a race!"

Kyle blushed, "Ashley, will you help me learn to swim like you do?"

"Yes, but you have to promise not to make stupid comments about girls being slower than boys!" Ashley declared.   "I tried to get you to shut up but you just kept saying stuff.   Mahea was pretty upset about what you said."

Kyle made an ugly face and said, "I wouldn't have been so obnoxious about it if she hadn't been bragging about how girls named Mahealani (Ma-hay-ah-la-ni) were so much better than everybody else."

"Mahea can be pretty stuck up sometimes," Ashley acknowledged.   "But you shouldn't have challenged her to a race, Kyle, and especially not a swim race."

Zach asked, "Who is Mahea?"

Kyle spoke up before Ashley could respond, "She's a girl that was on Ashley's swim team in New York."

"And Kyle told her that girls are slow.  So we raced Kyle across the pool and back and Kyle lost," Ashley said smiling and patting her brother on the knee.   "Kyle won't be challenging a girl to race across the pool for a while."

Seeing Kyle's embarrassed expression, Todd laughed, "It's not so bad, Kyle."

"Yeah, it is if it's your sister's best friend," Kyle said.   "Every time I saw her after that Mahea kept asking me if I wanted a rematch!"

Todd laughed, "Well, did you learn anything from what happened?"

"Yeah, stay away from girls!" Kyle exclaimed.

Ashley asked, "Then why do you want Jenny to visit us?"

"Jenny is different," Kyle said.

"Why?  Is it because you like her?" Ashley asked.   "She is still a girl you know."

David spoke up at that moment, "He said he's in love with her."

Kyle looked daggers at David, "You weren't supposed to tell anyone!"

"It's pretty obvious to anyone who has eyes in their head that you are pretty taken with Jenny," I said.

"Yeah, but David didn't have to go and tell everyone," Kyle protested.

"He didn't tell everyone, Kyle.   He told us and we already know that you like Jenny," Rick said.

"But Uncle Zach and Uncle Todd didn't know," Kyle continued to protest.

"Yes, but they would have found out as soon as Jenny showed up," Rick replied calmly.  "Kyle, we are your family including Uncle Zach and Uncle Todd.   It's okay for them to know what is going on with you."

"But I told David not to tell anyone else," Kyle said stubbornly.

David said, "I'm sorry I broke my promise, Kyle."   David walked over and hugged his big brother.  

Kyle was slightly mollified by David's apology.   He stopped complaining and sat with his arms folded across his chest.   I said, "Kyle, maybe you shouldn't make David promise not to tell us things.   You really shouldn't be hiding things from your family, especially when we all know what's going on anyway."

Kyle looked at me and said, "Okay, I get it!"   His tone of voice let me know he wasn't happy.

Rick motioned for Kyle to sit by him.   Kyle reluctantly got up and moved over to where Rick was sitting and sat down.   Rick put his arm around Kyle's shoulders.   "It's okay, Kyle.   What Daddy is trying to say is that we shouldn't keep secrets from each other because we love each other.   We love you and we want the best for you."   He paused and looked into Kyle's eyes, "We love you, Kyle."

Kyle's expression softened, "I know you love me.   I just wasn't ready to tell everyone that I like Jenny."

"We understand how you feel," I said.   "I felt that way about my first boyfriend.   I didn't want anyone to know that we more than just friends and I tried to hide it from my Uncle Dave and Aunt Mary.   I tried to hide it from my cousins, Ben and Cindy, and my sister, Nancy.   They were at the same school with me and Ian."

Kyle sat up and looked over at me, "Dad wasn't your first boyfriend?"

"No, he wasn't.   He was my second one," I replied with a grin at Rick.  

"How long was it before your family knew about Ian?" Kyle asked with interest.

"Not very long, if I remember correctly.  Uncle Dave took me up in his airplane and cornered me on the subject," I said remembering how angry I had been at Uncle Dave.

"What happened?" Zach asked.  "We have never heard much about Ian."

Rick spoke before I could answer, "There is a good reason you haven't heard much about him.   He dumped Glenn without so much as a thank you for the good times or even a good-bye!"

I put my arm around his waist and hugged him, "That's true but that was after we had been boyfriends for the better part of my senior year of high school."

Todd said, "You still haven't told us what happened with your Uncle Dave."

"Well, he wanted to know if I was having sex with Ian and why I hadn't talked to him about it before I did it.   He tried to convince me that being gay was wrong and that I shouldn't be in a relationship with a guy.   I was so angry with him for trying to tell me what to do but most of all I was very hurt that he was lecturing me about being gay.   He had told me that I could trust him and that it was okay with him if I was gay but then it all turned out to be a big lie to get me to trust him."  

I looked over at Kyle and continued, "However, I should have listened to him about not trusting Ian.   He warned me about having a relationship with someone who just wanted to use me but I wasn't willing to listen to him.  I got angry with him for interfering and did what I wanted to do.   That's why when you asked me about having sex with a girl I said it would be better if you waited to have sex until you know you have met the right person for you.   When Ian pushed me to have sex with him, I agreed because all I wanted was to have a boyfriend.   I wasn't concerned that he didn't love me.   I realized too late that I had done myself a disservice by giving myself to Ian in that way."

Rick took up the story, "When Glenn came to visit my apartment in Atlanta, I overheard him talking to Uncle Dave about how Ian had gotten engaged to be married to his girlfriend and hadn't even called to say good-bye or even thanks for the sex!"

"I was pretty upset because Ian and I planned to go to school together at the University of Texas El Paso.   I even took a trip out to El Paso with a friend to check out the university there," I said.

Todd asked, "What convinced you to stay in Atlanta?"

Zach laughed, "I think that is obvious, Todd.   You are looking right at him!"

Rick grinned and confirmed what Zach had said, "Yes, I am the reason Glenn stayed in Atlanta.   When he came back from Texas, I retrieved him from his friend's apartment and we went back to my place."

"And I was barely inside the door when Rick kissed me and declared his love for me," I said.   "And the rest is history so to speak."

Rick leaned over and kissed me, "Most importantly, we are still going strong."

"Rick has been my Prince Charming ever since that day," I said smiling up at my sweetheart.

Ashley said, "We are glad you found Dad, too."

"Dad is pretty awesome," Kyle said, grinning.   "That's why you fell in love with him, Daddy."

"You are so right, Kyle.   Dad is pretty awesome," I said looking into Rick's eyes.   I leaned over and kissed my sweetheart.   "I love you, Babe."

Rick replied, "I love you, too."

We spent the remainder of the evening reminiscing about our college days.   The children laughed at the crazy things we did and insisted we show them pictures of us in college when we returned home.   As I watched the children interacting with Rick, Zach and Todd, I felt very fortunate to have such a wonderful family:   A great husband, five beautiful children and the best friends in the entire world.

Prev To be continued . . .

A Note from Russ:

Kyle's piano solo:

Smith Point Lighthouse -

Lighthouses on the Potomac River -